While the prioritizing of industry interests and input virtually guaranteed this project would produce results that suited the industry, there are still many findings that are highly uncomfortable for the industry and which the final report attempts to downplay, including:
1. Birds in cages suffer substantial foot damage.
23 percent of caged partridges and 25 percent of caged pheasants endured painful foot problems such as lesions, swelling and bruising, yet the report considers the welfare impact to be "small" as the majority of birds did not experience these problems. This conclusion conveniently ignores the fact that millions of birds are confined in breeding cages every year, meaning the number of individuals suffering from painful foot damage is likely to be upwards of half a million. This is not a small welfare impact.
2. Confinement causes aggressive behavior.
Feather damage caused by pecking, which the study identifies as the primary cause of early mortality, was recorded in 39 percent of caged partridges and 70 percent of caged pheasants. The staggeringly high figure for pheasants does not take into account that all the birds in this study were bitted - had small plastic devices pushed through their nostrils to help lessen the impact of aggressive pecking - so the injuries caused in these stressful conditions would be even worse if the birds were not deliberately mutilated before caging.